The University of San Francisco: Gleeson Library
Library with Yellow Flowers
Oxford Biblical Studies Online
Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism
Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Encyclopaedia Judaica
Encyclopedia of Buddhism
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Using ebrary eBooks

Here you'll find FAQs on using ebrary eBooks. If your questions are not answered below, contact us at Ask a Librarian.

What is ebrary?

ebrary is an online library database of ebooks (electronic books). The library subscribes to the Academic Complete Collection, which contains over 70,000 ebooks covering all academic subjects.

How do I access ebrary ebooks?

ebrary books can be searched in the ebrary database or are available through the library catalog

In the catalog, you’ll see a link that says "An ebrary electronic book accessible through the World Wide Web; click to view." Click it to access the ebrary ebook.

How do I read an ebrary ebook?

ebrary has two types of readers that allow you to view and interact with documents in a range of ways:


ebrary QuickView Reader runs in your normal web browser, and it works with Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can search within an ebrary book, add documents to your 'bookshelf,' print and copy pages, highlight text, and create and edit notes with this reader. We recommend you use the QuickView Reader. 

ebrary Unity Reader is a separate application that must be installed on your computer. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux machines with Java 1.6 or higher installed. ebrary Unity Reader offers additional accessibility features, such as text-to-speech. To download the Unity Reader, click the ebraryreaderbutton button in the top navigation area. 

All ebrary readers allow you to view and interact with documents and include the following functionality:

  1. Navigate to your search terms
  2. Search within a document for new terms
  3. Add documents to your bookshelf
  4. Print and copy pages
  5. Highlight text
  6. Create and edit notes
  7. Use ebrary InfoTools

How long can I read an ebrary ebook online?

There is no time limit on your use of an ebrary ebook online.

Can more than one person use an ebrary book at a time?

Most ebrary ebooks can be viewed by any number of people at a time.

How can I read ebooks online on my mobile device?

Ebrary has a mobile app for iOS devices only (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) with a streamlined interface.

With ebrary’s mobile app, you can:

  • Online, search for and read ebrary ebooks 
  • Online, seamlessly download ebrary ebooks directly to your device
  • Offline, read previously downloaded ebrary ebooks 
  • Offline, read non-ebrary PDF documents

One thing you cannot do on the app is access your bookshelf links and notes.

Without ebrary’s mobile app, you can use a browser on a mobile device to do the following, but on the small screen of a device browser navigation can be cumbersome:

  • Online, search for and read ebrary ebooks
  • Online, possibly download ebrary ebooks to your device 
  • Online, access your bookshelf links, notes, etc. 

Use a third-party app such as Bluefire or other Adobe-Digital-Editions-friendly app to:

  •  Offline, read previously downloaded ebrary documents

How can I download an ebrary ebooks for offline use?

You are required to create and sign into an ebrary account to download ebrary ebooks. When you create your account, you must choose a username unique to the ebrary system

Once signed in, click the Download button that appears on both the search results page and the ebook details page to download an ebook.


  • If you only require a chapter of an ebook or section of the ebook, use the standard image PDF format option. This will create a PDF version of the chapter or page range that you can save to your computer and transfer onto devices, including the Kindle. These downloaded files never expire.
  • If you wish to download and read the entire book offline, you will need to install Adobe Digital Editions, which is a free download. After you've downloaded an entire book offline onto your computer, you can transfer them to supported devices.

How long can I keep a downloaded ebook?

An ebrary document downloaded as an ebook or PDF in Adobe Digital Editions is only available to you on a temporary basis. Most downloaded ebrary ebooks in Adobe Digital Editions or on your portable device are available for 14 days. Ebooks that can only be used by one user at a time (single user license), are available for 7 days.  

Note:  creating an image PDF of a chapter or page range gives permanent access.

How do I return an ebook?

You don’t need to return an ebrary downloaded ebook. After the designated access time, the file will remain on your computer or device, but it will become unreadable.  Once it times out, you might want to delete the (unreadable) file to avoid confusion.

You don’t need to return downloaded books, but since you can only have ten downloaded ebrary books at a time, you might want to return one early so you can download another. And returning the download of a limited-user book will make it available to others. 

To return an ebook early: 

  1. Open Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire
  2. Select “Return Borrowed Item“

Note, returns may take up to an hour to be recognized on your ebrary site.

How many downloaded ebooks can I have out at once?

You can have up to 10 ebrary ebooks downloaded at a time.

How can I read ebooks offline on my mobile device?

If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, you can download ebrary titles using the Bluefire Reader app. You will need an Adobe account, which is created when you install Adobe Digital Editions, or you can create a new account on the Adobe website.

To download an ebrary title to your Apple device, find the ebook you wish to download using Safari on your iPad, iPod touch or iPhone and click the Download tab. This will then launch the Bluefire Reader app, and your book will download. Normal loan limits apply (see above).

If you have an Android device, you can download ebrary titles using the Aldiko app. Connect your Android device to your computer and launch Adobe Digital Editions. Follow the prompts to authorize your device with your Adobe ID, then drag and drop items from your bookshelf onto the device.

Can I copy text from an ebrary ebook?

You can copy selections of a book you've checked out or downloaded, and paste it into a text editor, such as Microsoft Word. Please note you are still required to adhere to Fair Use and Copyright laws. Under Fair Use, you may copy a small part of the copyrighted book, not the entire work.

To copy and paste, highlight the text you wish to copy, then select Copy from the InfoTools menu. A small box will appear in the top left hand corner with your chosen text, plus the bibliographic citation for the source material. You can copy and paste this text normally by using Ctrl+C or by right clicking and selecting Copy.

Note: If the text you wish to copy is spread across more than one page, you will need to copy and paste each page separately.


Can I print pages from an ebrary ebook?

There is a limit to how much can be printed or copied. The number of pages you can print is set by the ebook’s publisher, and not by the library. The maximum number of pages you are allowed to print is displayed in the Print menu.

You can print pages from the reader using the reader's Print button, which is found under the InfoTools menu. Each printed page includes a bibliographic citation, and you have the option of printing a single page, a range of pages, or the entire chapter. To select the citation format (APA or MLA) of your copied text, sign in to your ebrary account and go to My Settings


Can I take notes in ebrary books?

You can add permanent and private notes to the ebook you're reading, including color-coded notes and highlights. To do this, you must create an ebrary account and be signed in.

To add a note, select the text using drag and drop, right click on the selected text and choose Create Note. Enter your note in the box that appears in the top left hand corner, choose a color, and save it.

To highlight text, select the text using drag and drop, then click the ebraryhilite (Annotate the selected text) button.

Any notes and highlighting you create will be listed in your 'Bookshelf.'



Can I export ebrary citations to RefWorks?

Export the citation of an individual ebrary ebook to RefWorks by selecting RefWorks from the InfoTools menu.


To export a set of ebooks, put your books into a folder in your 'bookshelf.' Open the folder. Click on the RefWorks button above the list of titles.


Where can I get more help with using ebrary?

Search the ebrary support database or contact a librarian at Ask a Librarian